Obama is Being Republican Lite

January 26, 2009 | By | 3 Replies More

Lofty rhetoric aside, after the election dust has settled, President Barack Obama seems to be giving us “Republican Lite” in his proposed economic stimulus package which may go over $850 billion. The package includes some $300 billion in tax cuts and $100 billion in givebacks to big business and other large business tax breaks long sought after by the US Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.

The plan seems to be a shill to allow for more Republican support in the US Senate where President Obama apparently fears a filibuster from a weakened GOP. GOP minority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-TN.) has said the bill will likely be passed by mid-February.

Former Senator Obama’s legislative centrist instincts have taken over.  He is moving towards tax cuts as a more palatable palliative for economic woes in contrast to his recent rhetorical flourishes promising an “American recovery and reinvestment plan” and a “jumpstart in new job creation” by investing in “our highest priorities, energy and education, health care and a new infrastructure necessary to keep us strong and competitive…”

The new Obama stimulus plan puts roughly one third of its focus in tax cuts, and merely some 18% into investments in infrastructure. Assuming that the recipients of the tax cuts spend the money rather than pay off already incurred debts as we did with the last rebates authorized under President Bush, such spending would not have the direct effects of job creation and lasting result as investments in roads, highways, bridges, electrical wires, and our educational infra structure. For example, the proposed US House bill has authority for school construction bonds of some $11 billion in 2009 and 2010, where the Senate version would only authorize $5 billion.

Under Bill Clinton, there were proposals for as much as $25 billion in such bond authority so as to stimulate jobs and provide a lasting educational infrastructure for states and localities and to relieve local taxpayers’ burdens of support for education.

While on the campaign trail, candidate Obama promoted a less than universal health care plan and a stimulus package of only $75 billion in aid which focused on across-the-board tax cuts over both aid to the hardest-hit families and help for state and local governments.

Paul Krugman then criticized Obama’s proposals for being “tilted to the right” and “less progressive than his rivals…”

Since then, Prof. Krugman won the Nobel Prize for economics and Senator Obama won election as President of the United States promising us change.  I don’t see a recovery plan which gives more hundreds of billions in tax breaks to big business as any change over what we had under President Bush or would’ve had under a President McCain. President Obama, stop giving us “Republican Lite” and be the change we elected.

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Category: Economy, Politics

About the Author ()

imothy E. Hogan is a trial attorney, a husband, a father of two awesome children and a practicing Roman Catholic in St. Louis, Missouri. Mr. Hogan has done legal and political work in Jefferson City, Missouri for partisan and non-partisan social change, environmental and consumer protection groups. Mr. Hogan has also worked for consumer advocate Ralph Nader in Washington, DC and the members of the trial bar in the State of New York. Mr. Hogan’s current interests involve remaining a full time solo practitioner pioneer on the frontiers of justice in America, a good husband and a good father to his awesome children.

Comments (3)

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  1. Joshu says:

    This is a rather spot-on assessment of the situation, I'd say.

    While I do see Obama as being an *overall* improvement over the previous administration, situations like this make me wonder if his more progressive stances might be overshadowed by his tendency to "reach across the aisle". On the other hand, however, this bipartisanship may very well end up making it easier- in the long run- to drum up support for progressive policies from both Democrats and Republicans.

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